The docs give advice: Is your workout really working?

King Features SyndicateJuly 15, 2014 

Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, claimed he'd finished a marathon in the "high twos."

Hours, that is. That put him in ultra-elite company with Canada's Brendan Lunty, who finished the 2013 New York City marathon in 2:36:17, and Ryan Vail of the U.S., who finished in 2:13:23 (top finishers that year for those countries). Turns out, Ryan vastly overestimated his performance and underestimated his time; 20 years earlier he finished a marathon in over four hours. But even if you're skeptical of politicians' ability to tell the truth, the fact is people typically overestimate how intensely they're exercising.

In a recent study, folks walked or jogged on a treadmill and then were asked if they'd achieved levels of moderate and vigorous exercise. Moderate activity allows you to talk comfortably, but not sing; vigorous activity only allows you to say a few words without pausing for a breath. Three-fourths of folks thought they were giving moderate effort, but fell far short. Folks overestimated vigorous output, too.

To make sure you're getting an effective workout, talk with your doc about establishing a daily walking routine (aiming for 10,000 steps a day) that you then amp up. The drill: Two to three times a week, warm up for five minutes; walk at your regular pace for one minute; walk as fast as you can for 20-30 seconds; then go back to your regular pace for another minute. Repeat that cycle for 20 minutes. Now, that's truly something to brag about!

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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